'Crossing the BLVD' to tell immigrants' inspiring tales

SUNY Oswego will launch a year of “Telling Tales: The Arts and Discovery” with the opening of an interactive, multimedia art exhibition that brings alive the stories of immigrants and refugees in a “modern-day Ellis Island where cultures overlap in chaotic co-existence.”

imageThe award-winning “Crossing the BLVD: strangers, neighbors and aliens in a new America” will display, from Aug. 29 to Oct. 10 in Tyler Art Gallery, selections of three years of work in Queens—called “the most ethnically diverse locality in the United States”—by documentary artist and photographer Warren Lehrer and actor and oral historian Judith Sloan.

There will be a reception for Lehrer and Sloan from 5 to 7 p.m. (CORRECTION: Friday, Sept. 9) at the gallery. The husband-and-wife team will deliver a gallery talk at 6 p.m.

The exhibition, which will be free and open to the public 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays, will share stories, sounds and images that reveal the human toll of a cold war and post-cold war world, as well as a pre- and post-9/11 world.

Lehrer’s photographs portray the proud, colorful humanity, the beauty and struggles of people who have crossed through war zones, borders, oceans and cultural divides to arrive in America. Portraits are paired with short narratives in each subject’s own words; audio presentations produced by Sloan will enable visitors to hear the voices, sounds and music of those portrayed in the exhibition.

Intimate show

Sloan ultimately will bring her one-person show, also titled “Crossing the BLVD,” to SUNY Oswego’s Waterman Theatre at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday, Sept. 14 and 15. She will channel dramatically the personalities of people she and Lehrer met on their three-year “world tour” of Queens, their home borough.

The effect of the SUNY Oswego art exhibition and Sloan’s show will be to produce what has occurred in other places where “Crossing the BLVD” has appeared: a complex, rich discussion of immigration, community and democracy, organizers said.

“Telling Tales: The Arts and Discovery” will continue throughout the academic year, from late summer to spring, exploring the many ways humans tell stories through art, literature, music and performance. In partnership with artists in residence, SUNY Oswego’s students and faculty will work across disciplines to explore new ways to understand and engage in the elemental act of telling tales.

To schedule a guided tour of the “Crossing the BLVD” art exhibition, contact Michael Flanagan, assistant director of Tyler Art Gallery, at 315-312-2112. For tickets to either night of Sloan’s “Crossing the BLVD” performances, call 315-312-2141 or visit http://tickets.oswego.edu.

For more information on the “Telling Tales” series or other arts events, call Artswego at 315-312-4581.

PHOTO CAPTION: Multicultural storytellers—Selections from the three-year documentary art project of Warren Lehrer, left, and Judith Sloan titled “Crossing the BLVD: strangers, neighbors and aliens in a new America” will be on display Aug. 29 to Oct. 10 in Tyler Art Gallery at SUNY Oswego. Sloan, an actor and oral historian, also will bring her one-woman show of the same name to Waterman Theatre of Tyler Hall on Sept. 14 and 15, bringing alive the voices, other sounds and images she and Lehrer, her husband, experienced in their “world tour” of the multiculturally rich borough of Queens.

(Posted: Aug 10, 2011)

Tags: warren lehrer, tyler art gallery, suny oswego, judith sloan, artswego